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The Final Minute by Simon Kernick

The Final Minute

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An action-packed page-turner with a pace that is relentless. A recurring nightmare troubles Matt Barron once he surfaces from his three-month coma after a traumatic car accident. The other horror is memory loss. He is recuperating at his sister’s and she is helped by a male live-in nurse. A psychotherapist visits twice weekly. Matt has a vague feeling he is not the person everyone believes him to be. Then the sister and nurse are murdered and the tale really heats up. Good, strong characters and interconnecting plots with plenty of twists and turns make this first-rate stuff. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

If you like Simon Kernick you might also like to read books by Peter James, Reginald Hill and Jake Arnott.

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Kernick has long been recognised for energising the British thriller. Books such as The Business of Dying, the first in his bestselling sequence of London-based novels, are crammed full of fresh and original touches, and The Final Minute continues the trajectory. The troubled protagonist, Matt, has a tangled past which is revealed as the book progresses – his amnesia having wiped out his memory. Tina, a former detective on one of the Met’s Murder Investigation Teams, is an ally – one he sorely needs.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Lisa Lamb - 'A heart-thumping, lightning fast moving, twisty turny storyline. A brilliant first Simon Kernick but most definitely will not be my last!'
  • Jan Kirkcaldy - 'Gripping from the start, where it instantly became impossible to know the “goodies” from the “baddies”, this was a usual gripping Simon Kernick read.'
  • Ian Harvey-Brown - 'Lots of action, lots of tension, lots of spills. Heart stopping read from page one!'
  • Suzanne Marsh - 'This story will have your heart racing wondering what is going to happen next.'
  • Maureen Gourlay - 'A well-paced thriller from a gifted author.  A different slant on a simple enough theme - who do you believe? Getting to the truth is a dangerous task so, is it worth your life?'
  • Michelle Hodson - 'I read this book in super quick time.  The reason?  I could not put it down. Brilliant thriller featuring the inimitable Tina Boyd and Matt Barron, leaving a trail of bodies in their wake!'
  • Judith Curtis - 'If you enjoy reading thrillers with fast paced, complex plots and plenty of suspense, books by Lee Child and James Bond movies, then you will love The Final Minute by Simon Kernick.'
  • Sue Andrews - 'A real page turner.'
  • Suzanne Bellingham - 'Another excellent gritty, fast paced thriller from Simon Kernick featuring Tina Boyd.'
  • George Willmett - 'Matt Barron is recovering in rural Wales after suffering amnesia following an accident...Can he find out who he really is? Fast paced and all action as you would expect from Simon Kernick.'
  • David Gay - 'Not one of Kernick's best but it holds the promise of more to come.'
  • Michelle McKernan - 'A brilliant book that I couldn’t put down. This is the first book of Simon Kernick’s that I have read but I will be tracking down his previous ones now as it was that good.'


The Final Minute by Simon Kernick

Featuring Simon Kernick's maverick detective, Tina Boyd, this is the gripping new race-against-time thriller by the best-selling author of Relentless, The Last 10 Seconds and Stay Alive. 'It's night, and I'm in a strange house. The lights are on, and I'm standing outside a half-open door. Feeling a terrible sense of forboding, I walk slowly inside. And then I see her. A woman lying sprawled across a huge double bed. She's dead. There's blood everywhere. And the most terrifying thing of all is that I think her killer might be me...' A traumatic car-crash. A man with no memory, haunted by nightmares. When the past comes calling in the most terrifying way imaginable, Matt Barron is forced to turn to the one person who can help. Ex Met cop, turned private detective, Tina Boyd. Soon they are both on the run...


'Another accomplished race against time with a delightfully morally ambiguous hero.' Sunday Mirror

'Simon Kernick writes with his foot pressed hard on the pedal. Hang on tight!' Harlan Coben

About the Author

Simon Kernick

Simon Kernick was our Guest Editor in February 2010 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing.

Simon Kernick is one of Britain's most exciting new thriller writers. He arrived on the scene with his highly acclaimed debut novel The Business of Dying, and his big breakthrough came with his novel Relentless which became the bestselling thriller of 2007. Simon's research is what makes his thrillers so authentic. He talks both on and off the record to members of Special Branch, the Anti-Terrorist Branch and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, so he gets to hear first hand what actually happens in the dark and murky underbelly of UK crime.

Below is a Q&A with this author.

1. Does your writing ever scare you?
Maybe not my writing, but my vivid imagination does.

2. Are you a disciplined writer?
Yes, I think so. I tend to write five days a week and roughly between the hours of 9 and 5 (and longer if I’m behind). I don’t think you can wait for inspiration to take hold otherwise you could be waiting a hell of a long time! In the end, you have to treat it like a job, albeit one that’s great fun.

3. Who is your most recognised character? What/who was the inspiration behind that character?
I have two central characters in my books. One is Dennis Milne, my renegade cop from The Business of Dying and its two sequels, and the other is Tina Boyd. Dennis was an amalgamation of a few cops I knew at the time (although none of them were killers as far as I know!), and Tina was a minor character from the early books who just became more and more central to my plots. I’m not quite sure how that happened. It just did.

4. Where do you write?
Usually in a bedroom upstairs in my house facing out on the road and the trees beyond. It’s a relaxing view.

5. Which crime fiction related book, TV programme or film have had the most impact on you or your writing?
Get Carter (originally Jack’s Return Home) by Ted Lewis has always been a huge inspiration. It’s one of the best thrillers I’ve ever read. A real noir classic.

6. What is your favourite scene or line from any crime fiction book?
‘The right apartment was hard to find so they murdered the old lady.’ It’s the first line of ‘Don’t Say a Word’ by Andrew Klavan, a fantastic thriller that I’ve re-read twice, and that line’s been imprinted on my memory ever since I first picked up the book in a second hand bookshop in Tenerife in 1993.

7. Which non-fictional killer frightens you the most?
They all do, to a certain extent. It takes a certain darkness in the soul to be able to kill another human being.

8. What tip would you give any budding writers?
Be patient, don’t spend too much time worrying about editing until you reach the end of your story (the most important thing is always to get words down on a page), and develop a thick skin. You will face many rejections in your struggle to get published, but if you’re determined enough, and your work is good enough, you’ll get there in the end.

9. E-book or paper?
Still paper. I’m a bit of Luddite.

10. If you were a fictional character, how would you write your own death?
In a blaze of glory, gunning down the bad guys in a ferocious firefight before being caught from behind by a lucky shot!

11. …and what would your final meal be?
If I had time between all the shooting, I’d dine on a dozen oysters followed by a rib eye steak, lobster and French fries, ending with my Mum’s trifle. I think that lot would probably finish me off anyway…

Author photo © Johnny Ring

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Book Info

Publication date

21st May 2015


Simon Kernick

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Arrow Books Ltd an imprint of Cornerstone


416 pages


Action Adventure / Spy
Books for the Boys
Thriller / Suspense
eBook Favourites

Thriller / suspense



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